Hua Mei Bird Garden Receives Protective Fence from Flying Balls

Posted on: February 20th, 2020 at 5:01 am by

Photo: Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition

You may have noticed the chain-link fence standing toward the Delancey perimeter of the sunken court on Broome Street.

The Pit, as it’s nicknamed, was resurfaced with “sports coating” last summer, part of the city’s overarching attempt to redirect park space while the East River Park is bulldozed in the name of coastal resiliency. However, doubling use of the space for soccer events, in addition to bike polo and swordplay, endangered the decades-old Hua Mei Bird Garden. Fearful of flying balls destroying intricate cages and songbirds, the community, vis-a-vis the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition, worked with the Parks Department on this simple solution.

In the time between the pavement rehab and fence erection, some who used the court knew to be proactive. For instance, when the Bike Polo people learned of the potential conflict they decided to always bring their own netting to protect the birds from potential flying soccer balls.

The Hua Mei Bird Garden was spawned rather spontaneously in 1993, when Sara D. Roosevelt Park was an urban wasteland of trash, sex, and drugs. Three Chinese men hung birdcages between two London Plane trees with the intention of creating a bird garden like those dotting China. Their petitions to the Parks Department were successful, and in 1995, it was officially recognized by the city.  Shortly thereafter, the metal piping was hammered into place and new greenery planted.

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